Saturday, December 10, 2011

Top 5 Travel Experiences of 2011

At the end of the year I always look back and reflect on my top travel experiences of the year. As a travel writer, I have the opportunity to go many places. In Travel Writer Rants and Raves, I always prefer to list the raves. Here are my fav travel experiences of 2011.

Western Highlands of Guatemala
I traveled with a small group via
Wildwood Art Cafe in Austin, Texas and Authentic Presence Tours led by Florencio L Moreno of Academic Tours Oaxaca. We met in Guatemala City and soon departed for the beautiful, lush countryside. We visited artists in their homes, toured village squares and enjoyed the colorful markets. Our guides ensured that we understood the history and culture and took us to major sites as well as out of the way places. I loved the flowers, the volcanoes and, especially, the beautiful Hotel Atitlan on Lake Atitlan. It was a glorious trip with wonderful people... a trip of a lifetime!

Exploring Los Gatos, California
When I lived in San Jose, California,
Los Gatos was a pleasant respite for me from the suburban strip malls and chain restaurants of Blossom Hill Road. Returning after 25 years was a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed the beauty of Hotel Los Gatos & Spa and walked the historic streets admiring the beautiful Victorian homes and fall foliage.

Soaking up the Warmth in Pagosa Springs, Colorado
I don't relish traveling alone but the trip to
Pagosa Springs was so full of photo ops, that I didn't mind. Pagosa Springs Resort was my destination and I savored soaking in the mineral springs overlooking the river. Anyone wanting to unwind a bit will enjoy this mountain town. I recommend a visit to Pagosa Springs.
Adopt a Native Elder Voluntourism
Not everyone has the opportunity to travel onto the Navajo Reservation. And certainly not everyone has the honor of visiting traditional elders. Through the
Adopt a Native Elder Program I volunteer to bring food and friendship to the traditional elders twice a year. The drives out on the Land are beautiful. The weathered faces of the elders are beautiful and I've come to consider the volunteers who go with me a twice a year family.

Savoring Santa Fe
Last but not least, I am fortunate to be able to live in a historic city.
Santa Fe  is full of history, culture and talented people. Each season brings new festivals, art exhibits, events and restaurant openings. I write about as many of these events as possible. This season, winter, is a time of faith. I'll be experiencing the traditional Christmas Eve walk on Canyon Road warming myself by the bonfires on the way.

I wish everyone Happy Travels for 2012!

Photography copyright: Elizabeth Rose Photography